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Western Price Survey

September 4, 2015
Peak Demand Reaches Summer High

Power demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached a year-to-date instantaneous peak high of 47,196 MW Aug. 28. The grid operator said it was the highest demand since 2010 -- which was 47,350 MW, recorded Aug. 25 -- and the fourth-highest demand level since 1998.

Demand may have room to go even higher.

"We still have a couple of weeks before we can say hot temps are behind us," said Steven Greenlee, Cal-ISO senior public information officer.

The grid operator also reported a new instantaneous solar peak-production record of 6,466 MW Sept. 3, which surpassed the previous record of 6,446 MW recorded Aug. 21. Total renewable-energy produc-tion on the Cal-ISO grid peaked at 10,047 MW Aug. 30.

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Despite the rise in peak demand, power prices were tame over the Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 trading period. Mid-Columbia posted the largest gain, adding $2.15 to reach $29.45/MWh by Sept. 4, while Palo Verde fell $4.30 to $29.35/MWh. At the end of the trading week, average daytime prices ranged from $29.35/MWh at Palo Verde to $38.60/MWh at North of Path 15.

For off-peak electricity, prices at the end of the trading week ranged from $23.35/MWh at Palo Verde to $24.45 at the California-Oregon Border.

Meanwhile, working gas in storage reached 3,193 Bcf as of Aug. 28, according to Energy Infor-mation Administration estimates, a net increase of 94 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 18.3 percent greater than a year ago and 4 per-cent greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values eroded 2 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.67/MMBtu on Sept. 3. In the West, Southern California Border lost 9 cents to $2.68/MMBtu. Alberta natural gas ended even a second week (see table).

Western natural gas prices were roughly a dollar less on average in August 2015 compared to the same period last year. At PG&E CityGate, for instance, the high end of the average range in August was $3.32/MMBtu; in 2014, it was $4.56/MMBtu.

Western power prices during August 2015 were also significantly lower, on average, than last year. Prices were between $6.40 and $15.45 less compared to 2014. This included COB, which posted a high average price of $51.75/MWh compared to $67.20/MWh in 2014 [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.

The Western Price Survey is excerpted from Energy NewsData's comprehensive regional news services. See for yourself how NewsData reporters put events in an accurate and meaningful context -- request a sample of either or both California Energy Markets and Clearing Up.

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Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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